Monday, March 12, 2012

Genevieve's French-Inspired Dinner Party

Genevieve’s French-Inspired Dinner Party

My daughter really enjoys all things French these days.  She has berets, scarves, French-styled shirts, and pants.  She likes to listen to French music and listen to the French talk.  So, I decided to have a French dinner in her honor.  I had  just came back from a cheese tour with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, so I was gung ho to spend some time with the family and make a French inspired dinner.  We had Chateaubriand with Béarnaise sauce, Gratin Dauphinoise, Ratatouille, Baguettes, and for dessert we had Madelienes with Lemon and White Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse.  Here are the recipe breakdowns.   I did take some liberties with the usual ingredients.  With the Chateaubriand, I used a Petite Top Sirloin Roast.  It turned out extremely well for this application.  Normally, this recipe calls for a Demi-glace.  It’s pretty time consuming to go through the steps required to make it.  I used a quick sauce cheat that turned out mouthwateringly close.  


Forgive me for not cooking the Chateaubriand to Medium Rare, I’m the only Mid Rare lover of my family.  Ratatouille is on the left of the picture and Gratin Dauphinoise right behind the Chateaubriand with classic as well as Bearnaise sauce on the Steak.

1.5 Lb                                                 Top Sirloin Petite Roast
Sea Salt and pepper                              To taste
4 tbsp                                                 Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp                                                 Minced Shallots
1 each                                                 Knorr Beef Bouillon Concentrate
½ cup                                                 water   
1 tbsp                                                 Tomato Paste                                  
½ cup                                                 Dry Red Wine
2 tbsp                                                 Butter
½ tsp                                                  Dry Tarragon

First, preheat the oven on 350 F.  Then set out the roast at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking.  Season the entire roast with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.  Heat a stainless steel pan over medium high heat.  When hot, add the EVO oil until it shimmers.  Add the Roast and sear on all sides for about 2 minutes per side.  You want to develop a nice crust on the outside.  When the Roast is seared on all sides, remove the pan from the heat.  Place the roast on a roasting insert in a roasting pan.  I like a cooling grate over a sheet tray.  It keeps the Roast sear from losing that all important flavor.  Place in oven for 15 minutes.  While Roast is roasting, place your pan back over the heat and caramelize the shallots.  As the shallots are cooking mix the hot water, Knorr beef concentrate soft cube, and the tomato paste together.  Set aside for future use.  When the shallots are translucent, add the red wine to deglaze the pan.  Make sure you scrape the tasty bits on the bottom of the pan while you stir.  Reduce the wine to about ½ the volume then add the bouillon, water, tomato paste mixture and whisk well.  Reduce heat to low and stir in butter and tarragon.  After 15 minutes the roast should be around 110 F.  Reduce heat to 325 F, and cook for another 10 minutes.  Your goal temperature is Medium Rare or around 125, 130 F.  When at target temperature, remove roast from pan, place in dish and tent loosely with aluminum foil. 

Béarnaise Sauce

¼ tsp                                                  Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
¼ cup                                                 White Wine Vinegar
½ cup                                                 Hot Water
3 each                                                 Egg Yolks
¼ cup                                                 Softened Butter
3 tbsp                                                 Minced Shallots
2 tbsp                                                 Chopped Fresh Tarragon

In a small sauce pan, bring vinegar, shallots, half of the tarragon, and pepper to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and reduce until the shallots are almost dry.  Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes.  Add an egg yolk and whisk heavily, then add another while whisking, then add the third while whisking.  Add the hot water and whisk until it is nice and smooth.  Place back on low heat and whisk for 2 minutes.  Increase heat to medium high, continue whisking.  Bring to a short bubble, remove from pan add the rest of the tarragon and stir in the softened butter until it is completely melted.

Gratin Dauphinoise

4 each                                                Large Russet Potatoes
6 cups                                                Milk
1 each                                                Bay Leaf
2 tbsp                                                Chopped Garlic
¼ tsp                                                 Fresh Black Pepper
¼ tsp                                                 Sea Salt
2 to 3 sprigs                                        Fresh Thyme
2 cups                                                Heavy Whipping Cream
½ tsp                                                 Ground Nutmeg
2 tbsp                                                Butter
As needed                                          Cooking Spray
Cheese                                              If you just got to have it

Pre-heat an oven to 350 F.  Slice the potatoes into 1/8” slices.  A mandolin is the best for achieving even thin slices.  Make sure when selecting potatoes to look for comparable shape and size.  Add the milk, bay leaf, pepper, salt, thyme, and garlic to a pot then add the potato slices.  Cook over medium high heat for 8 minutes.  Remove from heat and strain out potatoes saving the milk mixture.  Spray a pan or casserole dish with the nonstick cooking spray.  Add the potatoes to the pan then pour over heavy whipping cream and 1 cup of the milk mixture or enough until potatoes are almost covered.  Sprinkle on the Nutmeg.  Cube butter and sprinkle over potatoes.  You can add cheese now if you just got to have some.  It’s totally optional.   Bake in oven for 1 hour or until potatoes are soft and browned on the top.


2 each                                                Zucchini
2 each                                                Yellow Squash
1 small                                               Eggplant
1 each                                                Red Pepper
¼ cup                                                 Pasta Sauce
3 tbsp                                                Vegetable Stock
1 tbsp                                                Chopped Garlic
¼ cup                                                 Extra Virgin Olive Oil       
To Taste                                             Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper
1 Sprigs                                              Thyme, chopped
1 sprig                                                Rosemary           
As needed                                           Cooking Spray

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.  Slice vegetables into 1/8” slices, again the mandolin is perfect for consistent slices. If your eggplant is too big you may have to peel then trim the eggplant to keep the same size slices.  Cut the red pepper in 1” square sections.  Spray round baking dish with cooking spray.  Mix the vegetable stock and pasta sauce together.  Spread the mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.  Shingle the vegetables in alternating order putting the red pepper every few shingles.  Mix the oil, garlic, seasonings together and drizzle over the top of the vegetables.  Place in oven and bake for 1 hour.    


White Chocolate and Lemon Mascarpone Mousse

8 oz                                                    Mascarpone Cheese
4 oz                                                    White Chocolate Chips
1 each                                                Lemon
1 cup                                                  Heavy Whipping Cream
2 tbsp                                                 Sugar

Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler.  When melted add Mascarpone cheese and mix until creamy.  Remove from the heat and mix in the zest from 1 small lemon.  Chill mixture for at least 30 minutes.  Beat sugar and Heavy whipping Cream until soft peaks form.  Fold whipped cream mixture into the mascarpone mixture.  I served this mousse on some madeleines with a fresh raspberry.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cajun Catfish over Sweet Potato Risotto with Caramel Sauce

My wife picked up some really nice sweet potatoes from a roadside stand.  I had to use them as the star of the dinner tonight.  I had some fresh catfish that I lightly seared with Cajun seasonings.  I served it over some sweet potato risotto and topped it with some candied sweet potatoes and a spicy caramel sauce. 

Spicy Cajun Seasoning

2 tsp                            Salt
1 tsp                            cayenne pepper
½ tsp                           white pepper
½ tsp                           black pepper
1 tsp                            garlic powder
1 tsp                            onion powder
1 tsp                            thyme
1 tsp                            cumin
1 tsp                            oregano

Mix all ingredients together and store until needed.

Sweet Potato Risotto

6 tbsp                          unsalted butter
2 tbsp                          diced yellow onions
1-1/2 cups                   ¼” diced sweet potato
3 cups                          chicken stock
1 cup                           Arborio rice
½ cup                          grated Parmesan cheese
as/needed                    salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Heat chicken stock until hot and keep warm.  In a 3 qt saucepan, melt 4 tbsp butter over  medium heat.  Add the yellow onions to the pan and sweat the onions until translucent.  Add the Risotto and the sweet potatoes and brown for about 1 minute.  Add ¾ cup of hot stock and cook until bubbly.  It’s very important to stir constantly.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until all the stock is absorbed.  Keep adding stock ¼ cup at a time and continue to stir.  When all the stock is absorbed, the texture of the rice should be creamy but not clumpy.  This process can take 20 to 30 minutes.  Before serving, stir in 2 tbsp butter and grated parmesan cheese.

Cajun Catfish

1#                                catfish fillets
as needed                    Cajun seasonings
2 tbsp                          canola oil

Add canola oil to a large pan and heat until hot with medium high heat.  Season catfish with the Cajun seasonings then sear in pan on both sides until the fish is flaky.

Candied Sweet Potato Sticks and Caramel Sauce

2 cups                          very thin matchstick sweet potatoes
8 tbsp                          unsalted butter
3 tbsp                          brown sugar
as needed                    fresh cracked black pepper
¼ tsp                           Cajun seasoning

Heat 2 tbsp of the butter in sauce pan over medium heat.  When melted, add the sweet potato and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.  When the sweet potato starts to soften (it still needs to be slightly crunchy), add the brown sugar and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove the pan from heat and remove the sweet potato matchsticks and set aside.  Return the pan to the heat and stir in the rest of the butter.  Scrape the bottom of the pan and stir constantly.  Add the fresh black pepper and the cajun seasoning.  Cook the sauce for about 1 to 2 minutes or until the butter becomes slightly frothy.  Remove the sauce from the heat. 

I plated the sweet potato risotto in the center of the plate, then I topped it with the Cajun seared catfish.  I placed a few of the candied matchstick sweet potatoes over the fish and topped them with some pecans.  Then I spooned the caramel sauce over the entire dish.  The dish was Very Tasty, indeed.  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pork Chops with Apple Butter BBQ Sauce

Some days you just feel like good ole comfort food.  So, I decided to do a pork chop and a couple of sides that use bacon.  After all it is international bacon day.  I love bacon but didn't really feel like going too crazy today.  I started off with bone-in pork chops which I seasoned with oil, kosher salt, and cracked black pepper. After letting them reach room temperature, I grilled the pork chops on the grill until done.  Then I served them with the apple butter BBQ sauce, bacon fried green beans, fried potatoes served with potato gravy.  No pretentious plating today, just a great simple meal for a hungry family.

Apple Butter BBQ Sauce

2 each                                      Red Delicious Apples
2 each                                      Granny Smith Apples
2 tbsp                                      canola oil
½ cup                                      white sugar
¼ cup                                      honey
1/8 cup                                    prepared mustard
¼ cup                                      ketchup
2 tbsp                                      balsamic vinegar
pinch                                       kosher salt
pinch                                       cracked black pepper

Peel, core, and dice apples.  Add apples, sugar, and vegetable oil to sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat until simmering then reduce heat to low and add the honey.  Cook on low for 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool; then blend in blender until apple butter consistency.  Return apple butter mixture to sauce pan over low heat.  Add 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, ketchup, and mustard.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently then season with salt and pepper.

Bacon-fried Green Beans

2 Qt                                         fresh green beans
2 tbsp                                      butter
4 slices                                     bacon
¼ cup                                      thin sliced red peppers
¼ cup                                      thin sliced yellow onions
pinch                                       kosher salt
pinch                                       black pepper

Wash and string green beans.  Fill stock pot with 3qt of water and 2 tbsp salt.  Bring to a boil then add beans.  Cook beans in boiling water for about 8 minutes.  Drain beans and wash with cool water to cool beans.  Cut bacon in to small strips and cook in large pan over medium low heat.  When bacon, is mostly cooked add butter and increase heat to medium high.  When butter is melted add onions, red peppers, and green beans, cook for approximately 10 minutes or until desired doneness.

Fried Potatoes with Potato Gravy

1 qt                                         Yukon Gold potatoes
3 cups  plus 3 tbsp                   all purpose flour
2 cups                                      white corn meal
1 tbsp                                      salt
1 tbsp                                      pepper
1 tsp                                        cayenne pepper
1 cup                                       canola oil
¼ cup                                      chopped raw bacon
3 cups                                      milk
as needed                                salt and pepper
1 tbsp                                      butter

Wash potatoes then cut into ½” or ¾” cubes.  Store the potatoes in water until ready to cook.  Mix 1 cup of flour, corn meal, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a bowl.  Set up breading station with 2 cups flour in the first bowl, then 1-1/2 cups of milk in the next bowl, then the corn meal mixture.  Bread potatoes in flour then milk then corn meal.  Heat canola oil over medium heat, then add potatoes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Turn potatoes and add bacon then cover and cook until potatoes are fork tender.  When potatoes are done, remove pan from the heat and scoop out all of the potatoes.  In the pan with the reserved oil and bacon, add 3 tbsp flour and whisk until smooth.  Put the pan back on the heat browning the flour in the oil.  After cooking the flour for about 3 to 5 minutes, add milk until desired consistency and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.  Before service add butter and stir until blended.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

This dish is "Swai" too cool!

I'm usually the first guy to praise farm to table food and the biggest fan of local foods and produce.  However, my curiosity sometimes gets the better of me.  I've been noticing a surge in Swai marketing lately.  So, I decided to give it a try.  Swai is basically a river catfish found in Vietnam.  It's a delicate, moist,

mild fish with a much sweeter flavor than the typical catfish found in America.  It's very hardy and is a huge export to the U.S.  Don't get me wrong, I definitely support our local catfish farmers.  I just like to be adventurous and try new things.  I was really surprised by the delicate flavor of the fish.  I was even more surprised by the average cost per pound. I found Swai (also called Tra, Striper, Sriped Catfish, Iridescent Shark) to be priced between $2.99 and $4.99 per pound.  Of course, we all know how this is going to end.  I remember when Tilapia was about the same price, then after a few years of strong sales, the price spiked.  Nutritionally, it's not a bad choice either; moderate in calories and high in Omega-3.

Well, enough of the chit chat, this is what I put together for dinner.  I made a great creamy corn pudding, fried some plantains, sliced some perfect heirloom tomatoes, made a balsamic honey reduction, and pan fried the Swai.  On the plate, I put a couple of slices of heirloom tomato, set a ring mold over and filled it with corn pudding.  Then I added the Swai nuggets on top of the corn, placed some of the fried plantains on the side of the plate, then I topped everything with a few drops of the balsamic honey reduction.

Pan Fried Swai—Country style

1 lb                  swai fillets
3 cups              ground white corn meal
2 cups              all purpose flour
2 tsp                salt
1 tsp                black pepper
½ tsp               garlic powder
½ tsp               cayenne pepper
3 cups              buttermilk
as needed        canola oil

Wash the swai fillets and cut into 2 to 3 inch nuggets.  Drain well on paper towels.  Mix corn meal, ½ cup flour, 1 tsp salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne powder.  Set up dredging station.  Put the rest of the flour in the first bowl, put the buttermilk in the second bowl, and put the corn meal mix in the last bowl.  Set an empty plate close by to hold the breaded swai.  First coat the swai in flour and shake off excess.  Next, put swai in buttermilk, then last place it in the corn meal mixture.  Place breaded swai in empty plate.  Continue until all swai are breaded.  Pour oil in cast iron skillet until about ½ inch of oil.  Heat on medium high heat until oil is around 340F.  Fry Swai until one side is golden brown then flip.  Cook about 4-5 minutes per side or until thermometer reads 145F.  Remove from oil and place on cooling rack to drain.  Season with salt ASAP.

Baked Corn Pudding

5 cups                          Fresh silver queen corn cut from the cob
4 large                         eggs
½ cup                          sweet onion—diced
1 cup                           heavy whipping cream
1 cup                          milk
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp        unsalted butter
½ tsp                           salt
1 tsp                            black pepper
¾ cup                          shredded Monterey jack
¼ cup                          freshly grated parmesan
3 tbsp                          all purpose flour
½ cup                          ground Ritz cracker crumbs
½ tsp                           cayenne pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 375F.  Cut corn from cob and store in a mall bowl.  In a large bowl, take back of knife and run up and down corn cob with pressure removing all the corn pieces and corn milk from the cob; mix this mixture to the corn.  Melt ¼ cup butter in pan over medium high heat.  Cook onions and corn until well heated about 5 or 6 minutes.  Add the heavy whipping cream, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and parmesan cheese to the corn.  Cook for about 5 minutes and remove from heat.  In a bowl, whisk together flour, milk, and eggs.  Mix together the egg mixture to the corn mixture and place in a greased baking dish then top with Monterey jack cheese.  Melt the 2 tbsp butter and whisk in the cayenne pepper.  Add the melted butter to the ground up Ritz cracker crumbs.  Top the Monterey jack with the seasoned cracker crumbs.  Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Honey/Balsamic Reduction

4 cups              Balsamic Vinegar from Modena
¼ cup              Orange Blossom Honey

Whisk together Balsamic vinegar and honey in a sauce pot.  Heat on medium high heat until slightly simmering then reduce heat to simmer.  Stir frequently and cook until mixture is ½ the volume.  Cool and store in squirt bottle.

Fried Plantains

2 each                          plantains
1-1/2 cups                   water
¾ cup                          brown sugar
1-1/2 cup                     all purpose flour
As needed                   canola oil
1 tsp                            salt

Peel the plantains by slicing off each tip then making one long cut lengthwise.  Peel away the skin and cut plantain in 3/8” to 1/2” slices.  Add canola oil to skillet to about ½ deep and heat on medium high heat.  When oil is hot fry plantains until slightly golden on each side.  Remove from oil and drain on cooling grate.    Heat brown sugar and water until sugar is dissolved then remove from heat.  Add the plantains to the water and soak for an hour.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Reheat the oil until around 340F.  Dredge the plantains in flour and fry until golden brown on both sides.  Remove and drain on cooling grate and season promptly with salt.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


The Hogwart's Express from Harry Potter is coming to rest at a theatre near you.  To celebrate the last installment of Harry Potter.  I'm posting my top secret recipe for Butterbeer.  Butterbeer is one of the most purchased products at Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  There's been all sorts of speculation and tons of copy cat recipes.  This is my take on the Three Broomsticks Inn classic.  If you've been to WWOHP let me know how it compares with Chef Jayson's version.  There aren't a lot of details published about Universal's secret formula; however, I do know a few tidbits of information.  They didn't use dairy, they didn't use high fructose corn syrup, and it has two parts.  The first part is the butterbeer and the other part is a topping to simulate froth.  I love the froth, it really makes the drink come alive.  I did choose to use dairy.  I could have used non dairy creamer and possibly egg whites for my froth if I wanted to try to duplicate Universal's original.  I don't have anyone in my immediate friends or family that is lactose intolerant.  So, I went for big flavor and chose Heavy Whipping Cream.

Butterbeer Recipe

For the Butterbeer mix

½ cup brown sugar (light)
2 cups water
1-1/2 tsp rum flavoring (Sauer’s is recommended)
12 oz Smuckers Caramel flavored topping
20 oz Club Soda (if using Canada Dry 1 ltr bottle it’s about 2/3 bottle)
1 tsp Sauer’s Imitation butter flavoring (Sauer’s is recommended)
1 ltr Jones Cream Soda

Mix brown sugar and water in a stock pot and heat over medium/high heat.  When the sugar is dissolved (cook for about 5 minutes) add the caramel topping, the Butter flavoring, and Rum flavoring then remove from the heat.  Let cool completely in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  It needs to be cool but not cold. 

For the Butter Marshmallow Froth

1 cup Marshmallow crème
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup white sugar
1/2 tsp Imitation butter flavoring

Place heavy whipping cream in a large bowl and beat with mixer slowly adding the white sugar until all incorporated.  When the whipping cream is starting to thicken add the butter flavoring and the marshmallow cream.  Mix until nice fluffy peaks are formed.  Store in the refrigerator until needed.

To make Butterbeer:
In a large bowl mix the club soda and the Butterbeer mix.  Stir gently with a whisk until it’s just combined.  Pour about ½ cup of Jones Soda into a frosted 12 oz mug.  Next fill the glass about ¾ full with the Butterbeer mix.  Scoop a generous helping of Butter Marshmallow froth onto the top of the glass. 
Enjoy!!  The froth is long lasting so it’s best to slurp some of the butterbeer and froth during each drink.  If you think it’s too sweet just eliminate the Jones Cream soda.  This will serve about 4 to 6 depending upon glass size.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Year's Food Adventures

Well, the New Year came around and we decided to eat as many things as possible that might bring us fortune during the new year.  After doing a little research, I found many foods that were sure to bring you luck if eaten on the first:   Anything fish with scales, 12 grapes at midnight, black eyed peas, hog jowl, greens, noodles, cabbage, lentils, and pomegranate.  We had several creative dishes that incorporated many of the foods that would bring you luck.  You can't be too careful and I could definitely use as much luck as I could get.

Hoppin John Cakes

1-1/2 cups                                Black-Eyed Peas, rinsed and drained
3 tbsp                                      Diced Yellow Onion
2 tbsp                                      Diced Red Peppers
2 tbsp                                      Diced Fresh Jalapenos, seedless
¼ cup                                      Drained Diced Tomatoes
¼ cup                                      Diced Hog Jowl
1 tsp                                        Chopped Garlic
¼ tsp                                       Salt
¼ tsp                                       Black Pepper
1/8 tsp                                     cayenne pepper
2 tbsp                                      All Purpose Flour
2 tbsp                                      Plain Bread Crumbs
2 cups                                      Ritz Cracker Crumbs
1 cup                                       Canola Oil

In a large bowl mix first 10 ingredients.  Using a stick blender or food processor, slightly blend ingredients together until peas are chunky.  Next, add plain bread crumbs and all purpose flour and mix well.  Let mixture chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.  Using a spoon or an ice cream scoop (#15 size disher), make small balls of the mixture then coat the balls in the cracker crumbs and flatten out to about half an inch thick disk.  Add the canola oil to a frying pan, heat oil on medium high heat and fry patties until golden brown on both sides.

Won ton Cabbage roll

5-8 each                               Large cabbage leaves

For the filling:
1 cup                                   Won ton sheets, julienned
3 tbsp                                  Shitake Mushrooms
¼ cup                                  diced yellow onions
2 tbsp                                  diced carrots
½ cup                                  diced cabbage
1 tbsp                                  minced ginger
2 tbsp                                  diced green onions
¼ cup                                  collard greens,  I used canned (lazy man)
¼ cup                                  diced hog jowl
1 tbsp                                  chopped garlic
¼ tsp                                   salt
¼ tsp                                   black pepper
 ½ cup plus 2 tbsp                 canola oil

For the sauce:
¼ cup                                  Tamari, or soy sauce
1 tbsp                                  Gulden’s brown mustard
2 tbsp                                  tomato paste
½ tsp                                   red pepper flakes
2 tbsp                                  blue agave nectar
1 tbsp                                  apple cider vinegar
1 cup                                   chicken stock      
½ tsp                                   onion powder
½ tsp                                   chopped garlic

If using dried Shitake mushrooms, follow package instructions to re-hydrate.  Heat ½ cup canola oil in small pot until oil is about 350 F.  Fry won ton wrappers until crispy, remove from oil and drain.  Heat pan over medium high heat, then add diced hog jowl.  Cook until jowl is browned and add onions, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic.  Cook until onions are translucent then season with salt, pepper.  Stir in collard greens, green onions, and won ton wrappers.  Remove from heat and cool in refrigerator.
Prepare sauce by mixing all the ingredients together and stirring well. 
Bring 2qt pot of water to a boil.  Add cabbage leaves and blanch for 8 to 10 minutes or until pliable.  Remove from water and drain on paper towels.

Cooking Instructions:
Put about ¼ cup of the filling in the center of the cabbage leaf.  Fold over cabbage leaf and tuck under filling, then fold over the sides towards the center and roll the leaf into a cabbage roll.  Secure with toothpick.  Heat 2 tbsp canola oil over medium heat in a frying pan.  Brown both sides of the cabbage rolls, approximately 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from heat, add the sauce to the pan, then immediately cover with lid.  Leave with lid on for at least 3 minutes.  Remove toothpick and spoon sauce excess sauce over cabbage rolls before serving.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Blueberry Yogurt Pancakes

Blueberry Yogurt Pancakes

1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 beaten egg
1 cup blueberry yogurt
1/2 cup water
1 cup blueberries
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp margarine for cooking

Grease griddle with 1 tbsp oil and preheat to around 375 F or better.

A little cooking science:
you know when your griddle is hot enough to start cooking the pancakes when you can drop a few drops of water on the griddle and they don’t evaporate right away. Instead they scurry around the surface of the hot griddle riding on a thin layer of water vapor before finally evaporating. This is called the Leidenfrost effect.

Mix together salt, flour, baking powder, and the sugar. Next, add egg, yogurt, 1 tbsp of oil and stir until well blended. Melt margarine on griddle or pan. Pour about ¼ cup portions of pancake batter on griddle.

A little bit more on temperature:
If your griddle or pan is too cold the pancakes will be tough and slightly chewy and of course take longer to cook. If your grill is way too hot it will burn on the bottom making a crust on the outside. If you are making many batches of pancakes you might want to remove the pan every 3 or so batches, wipe it out and bring back to the correct temperature.

Turn when golden brown, small bubbles should start developing around the edges and in the center of the pancakes. Right before you flip the pancakes, drop blueberries on the pancake. After flipping, cook until golden brown. Serve with warm maple syrup or blueberry compote (basically, fruit cooked in water, sugar, and quite possibly some flavored alcohol and spices). The great thing about using yogurt is you can infuse many flavors into the pancakes. You could make, apple, peach, strawberry, pineapple, vanilla, or even chocolate pancakes. I also find that the pancakes seem more tender and fluffy using the yogurt.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Crispy Pork Belly Sliders

Today's recipe is Pork Belly. In the picture I have a pork belly slider, dipping sauce and a cold pork belly cubes with noodles. The little sandwiches are my favorite.

Crispy Pork Belly Sliders

2 lb fresh pork belly

Wet Rub for the pork belly
3 tbsp Soy sauce
¼ cup olive oil
3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Dry Rub for the pork belly
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ cup sea salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp light brown sugar

Other necessary items and ingredients
2 shallow dishes
1 small bowl
2 qt of chicken or vegetable stock
plastic wrap and aluminum foil
baking pan
small buns of choice, I made small sesame coated knot rolls. Dinner rolls make great slider buns.
olive oil for sautéing

Preparation: Mix the wet rub well and store in shallow dish. Mix the dry rub well and store in a small bowl. Place the pork belly in the wet rub and turn to coat. Make sure you coat all surfaces well with the rub. Cover the shallow dish with wrap and refrigerate for an hour. Find a shallow baking dish and set aside—ensure that the pork belly can easily fit in the dish. Remove the pork belly from the wet rub and rub generously with the dry rub. Don’t be afraid to use every bit of rub to pack the pork belly. Wrap the pork belly with plastic wrap and place in the baking dish. Set the pork belly in the refrigerator for 2 full days.
Pre-heat the oven to 200F. Remove the pork belly after 2 days and lightly wash off any excess dry rub. Place the pork belly in baking dish and cover with chicken or vegetable stock. Cover dish with aluminum foil and cook for 6 hours in the oven. Vent the dish and place in refrigerator to cool. Turn the oven to broil. When cool enough to handle place the belly on a cutting board and cut into 2 to 3 inch cubes then place on paper towels to soak up moisture. Heat 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan on medium/high. Sear all sides of the pork belly except the top. Remove the cubes from the pan and transfer to the baking pan fat side up and place in the oven for no more than 2 minutes. You are just crisping up the fatty side of the pork belly. I have to admit I could just eat the pork from that point on and be well satisfied. It’s a definite calorie and fat splurge but well worth the time and effort. Slice off shorter grain slices from the cubes for the sandwich. Prepare your bun as you like it—toasted, buttered, steamed or just plain. I made a dipping sauce using 3 tbsp Tamari, 2 to three drops of sesame oil, 1tsp garlic in oil, a dash of sugar, green onions, pepper, and crushed red pepper. I also topped my sandwich with a little quick slaw using cabbage, red cabbage, carrot, salt, sugar, soy sauce, julienne red pepper, mayonnaise, pepper, and sesame oil.
I’m definitely not the best photographer so bear with me on my pictures.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I've been thinking about starting this blog for way too long. I enjoy creating new dishes or adding my two cents worth to other recipes. Most of all I enjoy learning and teaching. I work for a large grocery chain in the culinary department as a trainer. I have a super job. I get to teach people to bake, cook, decorate cakes, make candy as well as a lot of other integral parts of the fresh foods we sell. It's very gratifying to help someone and have a little light bulb go off in their head. I also hold fast that it if you want to be a great teacher, you have to always be willing to learn new things and be a constant student. This blog is my take on life, recipes, cooking, teaching, and never-ending study in the art of food. I hope you enjoy my posts and I do look forward to your comments, questions, and your input in the direction we travel. Keep one thing in mind in your cooking adventures: It's your kitchen--don't be afraid of it. Fearless cooking is how you grow and learn.